The Social Security Administration terminates benefits for its three income-providing programs when specific circumstances occur. The type of event that triggers a loss of benefits depends on whether you receive Social Security, Supplemental Security Income or disability payments. However, failing to report contact information or comply with requests made by the SSA can cause your benefits from any program to end.
Fail to Report Changes
Satisfying SSA contact requirements demands more than keeping your banking information current for direct deposit of your monthly payments. You must provide a current address or risk losing your benefits. Report your change of address and any new phone number as soon as possible, including the names of members in your household who receive benefits such as SSDI. You can update your contact information by opening a "mySocialSecurity" account on the SSA website.
Break the Law
The SSA considers giving false information to qualify or maintain benefits to be fraud. As a SSDI recipient, your benefits then stop for 6 to 24 months, depending on the number of violations you commit.
Your disability benefits also end during any months in which you violate parole or probation. If you are in jail for more than 30 days, your retirement, SSDI and SSI benefits stop, although benefits to your eligible dependents continue. You also lose all Social Security benefits when you have an outstanding arrest warrant and flee law enforcement to avoid prosecution for a felony. Your fleeing felon status also ends any beneficiary benefits your wife and children receive. Get deported and your benefits also end.
As a U.S. citizen, you don't receive Social Security retirement benefits while living in a restricted country -- one where SSA does not send payments. Benefits resume when you move to a non-restricted nation or if the SSA approves your request to personally collect them at a U.S. consulate or embassy.
If you're not a citizen, you may lose your Social Security benefits after living abroad for six months, depending on your country of residence. The SSA will reinstate your benefits after you return to U.S. and reside there for one calendar year.
Supplemental Security Income benefits end when you move outside of the U.S. and its territories unless you're a student attending a foreign university or living with a military parent stationed overseas.
Improve Your Health
According to Disability Benefits Center, living abroad will not affect your SSDI benefits provided you answer the questionnaires SSA uses to monitor your eligibility. However, the SSA terminates them when it determines you no longer qualify as being disabled either because your medical condition improved or your earnings from work reach a set threshold. As of publication, having average monthly earnings of at least $1,820 if you're blind, or $1,080 otherwise, ends your SSDI payments.
Reach Age Ceiling
Any benefits you get for taking care of a child who is not disabled end when that child turns 16, or when your responsibility as the caregiver ends. If you are a child, your monthly Social Security payments stop at age 18, or when you marry, are convicted of a felony, or no longer attend school full-time. You can keep getting your benefits until age 19 if you still go to high school.
Change Marital Status
Benefits based on a spouse's work history can end when family circumstances change. For example, your spousal retirement benefits stop if you divorce before celebrating your 10-year anniversary. Any survivor benefits you receive stop when you remarry and haven't reached your 60th birthday, or are disabled and remarry before age 50. Your children’s survivor benefits also end when you remarry. Stepchildren lose benefits based on your work history when you divorce their parent.
- Social Security Benefits Manual Online: Chapter Ten Payment, Non-Payment & Non-Receipt of Checks
- Social Security Administration: What You Need to Know When You Get Social Security Disability Benefits
- Social Security Administration: Your Payments While You Are Outside the United States
- WashingtonLawHelp.org: What Do I Do If Social Security Stops My Benefits Because I Am a "Fleeing Felon"?
- Disability Benefits Center: Can I Receive Disability Benefits if I Am Living Overseas?
- Social Security Administration: Understanding Supplemental Security Income (SSI) Overview (2014 Edition)
- Social Security Administration: What You Need to Know When You Get Retirement or Survivors Benefits
- Social Security Administration: Disability Planner: What Can Cause Benefits to Stop?
- Social Security Administration. "Social Security History: Fifty Years of Social Security." Accessed Feb. 21, 2020.
- Social Security Administration. "Retirement Benefits," Page 1. Accessed Feb. 21, 2020.
- Social Security Administration. "Retirement Benefits," Page 4. Accessed Feb. 21, 2020.
- Social Security Administration. "Retirement Benefits," Page 7. Accessed Feb. 21, 2020.
- Social Security Administration. "Retirement Benefits," Page 10. Accessed Feb. 21, 2020.
- Social Security Administration. "Retirement Benefits," Page 9. Accessed Feb. 21, 2020.
- Social Security Administration. "Benefit Planner: Survivors, If You Are the Survivor." Accessed Feb. 21, 2020.
- Social Security Administration. "Disability Insurance Trust Fund." Accessed Feb. 21, 2020.
- Social Security Administration. "Disability Benefits," Page 10. Accessed Feb. 21, 2020.
Trudy Brunot began writing in 1992. Her work has appeared in "Quarterly," "Pennsylvania Health & You," "Constructor" and the "Tribune-Review" newspaper. Her domestic and international experience includes human resources, advertising, marketing, product and retail management positions. She holds a master's degree in international business administration from the University of South Carolina.